Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The strabismus surgery is worth it

Our Journey With Stabismus is a blog that journey's the tale of one family willing to do whatever it takes to help their child with strabismus, the esotropia type, that is his eyes, or at least one of them, are facing in. While I have the exotropia type, one of my eyes faces outward while I'm focusing with the other, I can relate that stabismus can provide some challenges.

For one thing, you can't focus really well. And when the sun is bright you have to close the eye that wants to drift up toward the sun. And sometimes when you come around corners your brain has a hard time deciding what eye to use, and the object you are looking for seems to bob back and forth. You have to stop, close one eye and focus in order to see it.

It can also make you see double at times, especially when you're tired. When you're tired your eyes wander even more; or they become lazy. So, you can see how getting stabismus fixed can really help a person. It will help put you on equal footing with other people. It may help you hit a baseball better, and make it easier to see a football, or the other player once as opposed to twice. And it will probably make you a better learner, as you'll be able to focus on the page
better.

I've always been able to read, but I'm not really fast at it. I remember my teachers putting me in a special class for reading when I was a kid, although I bet the real problem that my teachers, doctors and parents never figured out was that the real problem was probably strabismus.

So yes, despite the discomfort, and despite the nausea, and despite the fact that parents have to sacrifice several days to coddle their post operative child, the benefits of this surgery far outweight the disadvantages. And, despite a less than 5% chance of going blind in the eye if an infeciton occurs, the side effects are relatively rare.

I had the surgery when I was 2, 10, 15 and just two days ago at 40. So I’ve gone through the procedure at all stages of development, and I can honestly say it is well worth it. From the patient end, I can say it does feel kind of funny after someone pokes your eye, and there’s always that urge to rub it.

I remember being bothered by this when I was 10, which is why I had to be watched 24 hours afterwords back then. Of course today it’s an outpatient procedure, yet back in 1980 it wasn’t. Or maybe that was just because I was a kid. Well, the last strabismus surgery lasted 25 years for me, so hopefully your son’s procedure can last that long or, better yet, longer. I figure if mine lasts another 25 years I’ll be good to go.

My doctor told my wife as soon as I had the patch off it might seem to me he overcorrected, and that I still have strabismus, but he believes it will correct itself over time. Basically, your brain needs time to make the adjustment.

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